SAW believes that developing speaking, arguing, and writing skills is a social process. To foster a community of learners among the student body, SAW hires, educates, and places MHC students as SAW Peer Mentors to partner with faculty in courses across the disciplines and to staff the SAW Center in the Mediated Educational Work Space (MEWS).
SAW Peer Mentors use a conversation-based approach grounded in research on peer-led collaborative learning. They work with students to develop transferable skills and to nurture students’ feelings of confidence and self-efficacy. Students’ choices about language use are often personal and political. SAW Peer Mentors encourage students to think critically about their social contexts, to study language use with rigor, and to claim their own voices.
SAW’s Peer Mentoring Program comprises 40-50 MHC students, hired and educated to work with their peers on speaking, arguing, and writing development. They are MHC sophomores, juniors, and seniors with majors in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and the Arts. They are international students and domestic students. They speak English, Geechie, Mandarin, Newari, Spanish, Twi, Urdu, and more. They are selected to become SAW Peer Mentors on the basis of their interpersonal as well as oral and written communication skills.
Some prospective SAW Peer Mentors are nominated by faculty members to apply and many seek to apply on their own. All submit an application, and finalists are invited for interviews. Those selected complete the Peer Mentoring: Theory and Practice course prior to beginning work.
A SAW Peer Mentor may work at the SAW Center in the MEWS or in the context of a particular course. Most take advantage of both opportunities at some point during their tenure with the program.